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News that you need to know! Selected news stories from Qatar, India, Middle East and around the world, with focus on news that matters to Indians in Qatar.

UAE
Nipah virus alert: UAE asks residents to avoid Kerala trips

The UAE on Thursday asked travellers to postpone unnecessary trips to Kerala till the Nipah virus outbreak in the south Indian state becomes under control. In a media statement, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) alerted people travelling to Kerala to be aware of the possibility of contracting the infection and advised them to postpone unnecessary travel till the situation will be controlled. “The ministry works with its strategic partners to assess the risk of importation of Nipah virus (NiV) cases to the country and put the necessary control measures. Also, Mohap is in continuous coordination with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to implement the global recommendations,” read the statement. In a statement Dubai-based airline, Emirates said that they are monitoring the situation closely. The statement read: “Emirates is aware of recent Nipah cases reported in the state of Kerala, India. The safety of our passengers and crew will…

Qatar
Rupee decline continues, May touch Rs 70 against USD

Indian rupee today edged higher to 68.34 against the US dollar, but is not very far from its all-time low of 68.87, recorded in November 2016. On Wednesday, the rupee had closed at an 18-month low 68.42 against the US dollar amid capital outflows and concerns over macro-economic conditions. A rising dollar and a surge in global crude prices have also weighed on the rupee. The rupee is down over 6 per cent against the US dollar so far this year. Forex advisory firm IFA Global says that the possibility of rupee heading towards 70 per dollar is increasing. There is a still room for further depreciation from current levels, it adds. The relentless slide of the rupee caused jitters among businesses and investors in India. However, it is good news for non-resident money remitters across the Gulf as they gain more in exchange rate. Rupee vs Gulf currencies Below…

Qatar
Qatar Met predicts chances of rain on Saturday

The chances of rain in the country are expected to improve on Saturday, the Qatar Met department has said, while also forecasting strong winds and high seas in some offshore areas on Friday. While parts of the country experienced scattered rain on Thursday, the weather office said in a report that partly cloudy skies are likely in the country on Saturday and there is again a possibility of scattered rain, which may be thundery at times, in most inshore and offshore areas – particularly during the evening. Meanwhile, Friday’s forecast says the wind speed may go up to 25 knots in some offshore areas at times, with the sea level rising to 7ft. Slight dust and some clouds are also likely. Inshore, it will be relatively hot and slightly dusty conditions are expected in some places along with scattered clouds. The temperature in Doha is expected to range from 28-37C…

Qatar
Qatar Ministry of Interior announces Ramadan working hours

Working hours at the service-oriented departments of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) during the holy month of Ramadan have been announced. The General Directorate of Passports and General Directorate of Traffic and their departments, along with the Nationality and Travel Documents Department and Criminal Evidence and Information Department, will be open from 8am to 5.30pm in two shifts, the MoI has said. While the morning shift is from 8am to 1pm, the evening hours are from 1pm to 5.30pm. For the Nationality and Travels Documents Department, the evening shift is for the headquarters only. Published on 18 May 2018

Qatar
Doha Festival City announces family events for Ramadan

Doha Festival City, celebrating its second Ramadan with the community this year, has announced that it has planned over six special in-mall family events, happening throughout the holy month. These include Garangao, live cooking stations, craft workshops and traditional games. The destination is also taking the initiative to distribute 2,000 Iftar boxes to taxi drivers on May 23 with the aim of helping those who are fasting break their fast as they are still working during the Maghrib prayer, Doha Festival City has said in a statement. The mall has promised “entertainment and surprises each weekend to help its visitors celebrate Ramadan”, the statement adds. These are as follows: * CSR activation: distribution of 2,000 Iftar boxes for taxi drivers, May 23, starting from Iftar timing, West Court 1 Entrance – ground floor taxi pick-up and drop-off. * The joy of craft making: May 24 to 26, registration timing -…

UAE
UAE, India discuss bilateral cooperation

Dr. Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al-Banna, UAE Ambassador to India, has met with Shri M. J. Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs of India, and discussed bilateral cooperation to ensure and provide an enabling environment to support the development of both countries. During the meeting, Dr. Al-Banna and Akbar emphasised their commitment to further strengthening bilateral cooperation across various sectors and deepen the close and friendly relationship between the two countries. The two sides also discussed preparations for the upcoming visit of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, to India. Dr. Al-Banna said that India enjoys close and multifaceted bilateral relations with the UAE, which is supported by regular high-level visits and strong contacts. He also noted that the recent high-level visits have contributed to raising the level of relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership. The UAE Ambassador also expressed appreciation for…

UAE
Around 2,000 prisoners to be released ahead of Ramadan in UAE

Rulers of three emirates in the UAE have ordered the release of around 2,000 prisoners ahead of the holy month of Ramadan. On Tuesday, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has ordered the release of 700 prisoners ahead of the holy month of Ramadan. Announcing the news on Twitter on Tuesday, the Dubai Media Office said the pardoned prisoners are from various nationalities. Earlier, the President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan had ordered the release of 935 prisoners who had been sentenced in various cases. The release of prisoners comes within the framework of President’s keenness to give them an opportunity to start a new life and alleviate the suffering of their families. His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, has also ordered the…

Qatar
HIA voted as Best Airport for Layovers at Global Traveler Awards

Hamad International Airport (HIA) has been voted as the Best Airport for Layovers at the Global Traveler’s (GT) Leisure Lifestyle Awards in Los Angeles on May 10th. Now in its 6th year, the annual GT Leisure Lifestyle Awards celebrates the best in leisure travel and recognises the greatest airports, islands, cities, hotels, and cruise lines, as voted by its readers. The award comes as another great accomplishment for the young and ambitious airport which, last year was voted as the “Best Airport in the Middle East” at the Global Traveler’s GT Tested Reader Survey Awards in Los Angeles, which recognised outstanding performance and customer service displayed by airports across the world. HIA took the lead among a list of 10 top international airports including Singapore’s Changi Airport and Germany’s Munich Airport ranking second and third respectively in the category for the “Best Airport for Layovers.” Competing airports were ranked according…

Around The Region
Thursday will be the first day of Ramadan 2018

The religious bodies of Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia and various other countries have declared that Thursday, May 17 would be the first day of Ramadan this year. Qatar The Moon Sighting Committee of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in Qatar announced that Wednesday, May 16 is the completion of the month of Shaaban, and that the day after tomorrow,Thursday, May 17, will be the first day of the holy month of Ramadan. This came in a statement issued by the Committee after its meeting this evening at the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, chaired by Dr. Sheikh Thaqeel Al Shammari. UAE The UAE Moon Sighting Committee announced that the first day of Ramadan this year will be on May 17. The Moon Sighting Committee had gathered on Tuesday, May 15 (29th day of Shaaban) to look for the crescent moon which signals the start of Ramadan. Given…

Qatar
Ooredoo becomes world’s first operator to launch live 5G network

Ooredoo today announced the launch of a live 5G network on the 3.5GHz spectrum band, becoming the first operator in the world to do so. The breakthrough announcement was made in an event attended by Ooredoo senior management at the Ooredoo Tower in West Bay. Attendees were also briefed on the first Ooredoo 5G site which was accomplished just days after Ooredoo’s new 5G Commercial Core Network was activated. Ooredoo’s 5G network is the first commercially available 5G network in the world and is an important technological breakthrough for the telecommunications industry worldwide. The first stage of Ooredoo’s 5G Supernet deployment will cover an area from The Pearl Qatar to Hamad International Airport, with Lagoona, Katara Cultural Village, West Bay, the Corniche and Souq Waqif also included in the initial commercial launch coverage area. The Ooredoo 5G service offers the latest network technology (5G NR) meaning much higher speed, capacity,…

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